The more patriotic Jewish Americans may see connections between the latest Gaza uprising and the onslaught of unaccompanied alien children at our southern borders. The waves of Qassam rockets hitting Beersheva and Ashdod and the waves of illegal aliens coming over into Texas and Arizona have posed respective existential threats to Israel and the US for years and the challenge is getting increasingly serious. Although the BDS movement hasn’t died down in the US, polls showing continued American support for Israel’s efforts in Gaza no doubt provide reassurance to most American Jews. But depending on how the US manages its southern borders in the years ahead, broad support for Israel may not always be a sure thing.
The number of Hispanics in America, both legal and illegal, has almost quadrupled since the last census in 2010. The level of support for Israel among this rapidly-expanding demographic, however, is at polar opposites with groups like traditional conservatives, the strongest supporters of Israel in the US, outside American Jews. A 2011 poll covered by the Israeli press found that nearly 50 percent of Hispanics thought the ‘US was too supportive of Israel.’ These results should have acted as a “wake-up call” according to the Jewish organization that commissioned it. Jewish advocacy groups in general, however, like Bend the Arc or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), continue to support amnesty for illegal aliens, including the latest wave we’ve seen. Whether groups such as these are paying close attention to the long-term effects of their lobbying is doubtful.
The recent waves of unaccompanied alien children have arrived mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, countries that have each made moves in the face of US and Israeli opposition to recognize Palestine as a sovereign, independent state – Mexico has also made similar moves – Meanwhile, opinion polls in other Hispanic countries, such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina, show Israel to be about as popular as North Korea and Iran. Kenya, India and Russia, countries that have very large Islamic populations and a history of poor relations with Israel, are generally shown to be more supportive than most Latin American countries – Although polling in Venezuela could not be located, just recently that country pledged to send the Palestinian Authority 240,000 barrels of oil, presumably as an act of solidarity.
As the Hispanic population and its share of the electorate continues to lurch forward, American Jews, especially those committed to open-borders, should pay greater attention to this issue. Apart from Bill Kristol, Jewish immigration-restrictionists don’t have wide profiles. Former American Jewish Congress director and senior analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Stuart Steinlight has warned open-borders Jewish groups that continuous waves of Hispanics will “erode Jewish political clout” in this country. Groups like HIAS, according to Steinlight, are fronted by “unelected, aging plutocrats” who are actually working against Jewish interests by “pushing to let in more and more Muslims.”
Although Steinlight and CIS are frequently targeted by the pro-amnesty Anti-Defamation League (ADL), that organization found in a 2002 poll that the levels of anti-Semitism in the US was highest among Hispanics and triple the rate found among Whites.
Other figures have noted the potential long-term threat to Israel from America’s immigration policy. Following Obama’s 2012 re-election, Michael Freund, ex-communications director for Prime Minister Netayahu, wrote an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post demanding that, due to the ‘changing face of America’, Israel must “launch a comprehensive and coordinated Hasbara, or public diplomacy, campaign that makes Israel’s case to Hispanics directly and ‘en Espanol.’”
Whether a PR campaign could be so successful is unclear. The four decades-old Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), a Hispanic activist organization with a long history of pushing for open-borders, endorsed the BDS movement in 2012. Their announcement was made on Cesar Chavez Day, which happens to fall on ‘Palestinian Land Day.’
In a report on Hispanic and Palestinian solidarity, the anti-Zionist website Electronic Intifada profiled Gabriel Camacho of the open-borders American Friends Service Committee who said he was inspired after a trip to the West Bank to start a new activism project: a presentation called “Two Walls, One Struggle: a structural comparison of colonization, territorial loss, and racist aggression in Mexico and Palestine.”
Electronic Intifada’s report concludes, “[a]s long as Latinos in the US are subjected to racial profiling, the deportation of undocumented loved ones, and the effects of colonialism in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and in the southwest states, comparisons will be made between Latinos and Palestinians.”
In pushing for increased immigration and amnesty for illegals, such a comparison could become increasingly mainstream. Some American Jewish groups may need to begin asking themselves just what they’re advocating and who they’re really advocating for.
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